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Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution, 18 December 2014

The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... copies. Paine’s bestseller changed the terms of debate over monarchy. Following the lead of Quentin Skinner, Nelson notes that early modern English republicanism was a ‘neo-Roman’ type which focused on the discretionary powers of monarchy, not on the office itself. Enslavement was a matter of finding oneself subordinated to the will of ...

Leave me alone

Terry Eagleton: Terry Eagleton joins the Yeomen, 30 April 2009

What Price Liberty? How Freedom Was Won and Is Being Lost 
by Ben Wilson.
Faber, 480 pp., £14.99, June 2009, 978 0 571 23594 0
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... Wilson is by no means wholly allergic to communal ideas of liberty. In fact, he follows Quentin Skinner in claiming that negative freedom will remain precarious unless citizens have the power to hold rulers to account, which requires some more positive notion of political rights. He also sees the Civil War period as an invaluable infusion of ...

Politics First

José Harris, 19 April 1984

The Chartists 
by Dorothy Thompson.
Temple Smith, 399 pp., £19.50, February 1984, 0 85117 229 6
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Languages of Class: Studies in English Working-Class History 1832-1982 
by Gareth Stedman Jones.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £22.50, January 1984, 0 521 25648 8
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Class Power and State Power 
by Ralph Miliband.
Verso, 310 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 86091 073 3
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... modern Cambridge (though Stedman Jones acknowledges a debt to French structuralists rather than to Quentin Skinner). It is new, however, when applied to labour history and to English popular culture. Moreover, Stedman Jones argues that, if one takes the language of Chartism seriously, one is conveyed into a world in which the categories of ...
The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes: Vols I-II 
edited by Thomas Hobbes and Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 592 pp., £60, September 1994, 0 19 824065 1
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... technique of paradiastole, or the misdescription of ethical behaviour, a preoccupation with which, Quentin Skinner has recently argued, lies at the heart of Hobbes’s mature moral and political philosophy, and which we can imagine found a central place in the education of his pupil. But internal evidence alone is sufficient to identify these essays as ...

You can’t build a new society with a Stanley knife

Malcolm Bull: Hardt and Negri’s Empire, 4 October 2001

by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Harvard, 478 pp., £12.95, August 2001, 0 674 00671 2
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... of liberalism. Negri’s rediscovery of republican thought in the early 1980s paralleled that of Quentin Skinner in Britain, and the retrieval of Anti-Federalism by libertarians in the United States. In no case did this involve repudiation of the idea of negative liberty, just a renewed emphasis on the point that people can be free only if they also ...

The Getaway Car

Glen Newey: Machiavelli, 21 January 2016

Machiavellian Democracy 
by John McCormick.
Cambridge, 252 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 0 521 53090 3
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Machiavelli in the Making 
by Claude Lefort, translated by Michael Smith.
Northwestern, 512 pp., £32.50, January 2012, 978 0 8101 2438 7
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Redeeming ‘The Prince’: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece 
by Maurizio Viroli.
Princeton, 189 pp., £18.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 16001 6
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... rather than elected grandees to give voice to the popular will. McCormick arraigns Pocock and Quentin Skinner for scanting Machiavelli’s radicalism and modelling his thought on a patrician republicanism closer to that of his friend Francesco Guicciardini, who was born of old Florentine oligarchic stock. Whatever else the American revolution aimed ...

Ruck in the Carpet

Glen Newey: Political Morality, 9 July 2009

Philosophy and Real Politics 
by Raymond Geuss.
Princeton, 116 pp., £11.95, October 2008, 978 0 691 13788 9
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... that he would straddle the divide between analytical philosophers and historians. He edits with Quentin Skinner the series Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. The blue-jacketed volumes present historical texts as dispatches from the front line, be it Quattrocento Florence or post-Jacobite Edinburgh. As these examples suggest, the ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... avowed aim could be construed only as the overthrow of everything established in the church’. Quentin Skinner has written well on how the ‘set’ of the observer influences the historian’s approach to his documents. I began reading Prynne through Haller’s eyes (and, before him, Gardiner’s). Seeming contradictions were effortlessly resolved ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... for our meeting – were not necessarily about Raymond Williams at all. With the exception of Quentin Skinner, with whom, by his own account, Inglis seems to be in more or less continuous converse, the interviews are almost all one-off affairs, a procedure increasingly unacceptable to the oral historian, and almost guaranteed to provide stereotyped ...

England’s Isaiah

Perry Anderson, 20 December 1990

The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas 
by Isaiah Berlin, edited by Henry Hardy.
Murray, 276 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 9780719547898
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... has traditionally been neglected in England. Between the time of Leslie Stephen and, say, Quentin Skinner, that was certainly true. Even today, this branch of studies has far less elbow-room in English than in American universities. Since the Seventies, however, the situation has been changing, and the rise of a new kind of intellectual ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... among historians who have written principally on British topics – nothing from Linda Colley or Quentin Skinner, for example – and some of the best-known contemporary exponents of biography have not contributed: there is no Peter Ackroyd, no Hermione Lee, no Victoria Glendinning, though there are three entries by Claire Tomalin, including Katherine ...

The Contingency of Language

Richard Rorty, 17 April 1986

... us to discover it. Attention (of the sort fostered by intellectual historians like Thomas Kuhn and Quentin Skinner) to the vocabularies in which sentences are formulated, rather than to individual sentences, makes us realise, for example, that the fact that Newton’s vocabulary lets us predict the world more easily than Aristotle’s does not mean that ...

Wilderness of Tigers

Michael Neill: Shakespeare’s Latin, 19 March 2015

Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity 
by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 281 pp., £16.99, September 2013, 978 0 19 968479 3
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... familiarity with the structures of argument prescribed by legal rhetoricians is the subject of Quentin Skinner’s meticulously documented Forensic Shakespeare.* Skinner describes his book as ‘a supplement’ to Burrow’s; but its approach to Shakespeare is of a confessedly un-literary character. Indeed Forensic ...

Modernity’s Bodyguard

Phil Withington: Hobbes, 3 January 2013

by Thomas Hobbes, edited by Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 1832 pp., £195, May 2012, 978 0 19 960262 9
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... as part of a significantly different and altogether more radical set of conversations. But it was Quentin Skinner’s work on Leviathan that transformed Laslett’s attention to circumstantial detail into a full-blown methodology. Skinner placed the text in the immediate context of its publication, as justifying ...

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